As anyone who wears women’s clothing will tell you, it’s tricky to know what size to buy. Unlike menswear, which uses actual measurements in its sizing, womenswear garments are assigned an arbitrary number leaving it extremely easy for individual stores to make these sizes to whatever measurements they like. This means that, while I own size 12 trousers from Whistles, a size 14 can be snug around the hips in Topshop. In addition, there is no way of telling if garments purchased online will fit me as, just because my general rule is “size 12 top, size 14 bottom, avoid pencil dresses”, this doesn’t necessarily apply in all cases. Independent retailers (like Vivien of Holloway), understand that working out which size to buy can be tricky and so they put a sizing chart on their website and link to it from all the shop pages. Why doesn’t everyone do this? In an attempt to encourage mainstream retailers to adopt this approach, the lovely Gemma over at Retro Chick has started a Campaign for Clearer Clothes Sizing. She says:
“I think clothes stores should be made to put the measurements they use to cut their patterns on the labels of their clothes. They should be made to publish their size charts online in a clearly marked location (not hidden in the customer service section) and have a link to it from every garment they sell. Unhappy, frustrated customers don’t buy clothes. Customers that never go in your store because they don’t know that actually you cut clothes that would fit their non average bodies are a customer lost. So it’s in shops interest to be clearer about their procedures.”
If you agree that companies should be clearer about the sizing of the clothing they sell, make sure you spread the word. Mention the campaign on Facebook and Twitter, blog about it… perhaps even write to the stores themselves to see what they say! Hopefully we can make a difference.
A year ago I wrote an article about this – specifically looking at the ethical fashion labels as mostly they were selling online. I did some research and found that no two labels had exactly the same sizing. In some ways that's good – we're not all shaped the same – but in other ways, it's tricky to know what to buy. To read more about my research, the article is published here:
I blogged about this very subject at the beginning of May here – http://allabouttheboysdesignerclothes.blogspot.com/2011/05/what-size-am-i.html Good luck with your campaign.
Thanks for your comments, and for the links to your blogs. It's amazing how many people have the same problem! Hope you're going to join the campaign – the more we keep talking about it, the more retailers are likely to listen.